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Geoff Greenwood, Communications Director
515-281-6699, geoff.greenwood@iowa.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, November 15, 2013

Consumer Alert: Miller Cautions Iowans about Potential
Typhoon Relief Scams

Attorney General urges Iowans to give to reputable charities

(DES MOINES, Iowa)  Attorney General Tom Miller urged Iowans to be wary of the potential for fraudulent charities and scams that may claim to raise money for Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines.

“I encourage Iowans to help those who have been devastated by this horrible disaster, but I also encourage people to give wisely,” Miller said.  “I urge Iowans to be especially careful with ‘pop-up’ disaster relief charities that may sound impressive, but they’re not reputable organizations.”

Tips for giving to Typhoon Haiyan victims:

  • Donate to general relief organizations and religious-based charities you’re familiar with. Designate that your donation is for Typhoon Haiyan relief or Philippines typhoon victims.
  • If you are unsure about an organization that claims to help typhoon victims, search for the organization through Charity Navigator, GuideStar, the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, or Charity Watch.  Ask about the percentage of your donation actually benefits the relief effort, whether the caller is a professional fundraiser and who they work for.
  • Be wary of unsolicited calls and emails requesting donations.  Do not click on unsolicited email links or attachments.  Seek an organization through your own Web search.
  • Don’t provide a credit card, debit card or bank account information to a person or charity you aren’t completely familiar with.  Choose a credit card over a debit card to make a donation, as a credit card provides more consumer protections and a debit card allows the withdrawal of funds directly from your bank account.
  • Avoid sending cash, as it’s hard to ensure your cash will go exactly where you intend it to go, and, unless you have a receipt, you won’t have a record of the donation for tax purposes.
  • Don’t give to those who use high-pressure solicitation tactics.  If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

 

If you suspect charity fraud, contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division:

Web: www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov
Phone: 515-281-5926, or 888-777-4590 (outside of the Des Moines metro area)
Mail: Hoover Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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